It was Christmas holidays again, and as a primary school teacher, an endless summer awaited me. Only this time, the break would far exceed five weeks. I had taken leave without pay from my posting, my parents were having a clearing sale and moving to a new farm, and I was in limbo.
At twenty-five, my days of tripping around visiting friends or taking holidays with other singles, had diminished. I felt like an old school ma whose life was her classroom, and I desperately wanted a change. I had nothing to look forward to in the short-term, and January was going to be a boring month.
Having been single for a number of years, Christmas and New Year always held the same heartache. My status hadn’t changed. Again I was alone.
As the New Year unfolded, I was determined to change my heart attitude. The last sermon at church for the year was about grumbling. The minister preached that one way to live is to focus on failures of the past, fears for the future and flops in the present. But the best way to live is forgiveness for the past, faith for the future, and being a joyful, loving achiever in the present.
How was I to spend the summer God had given me? How could I find joy on our farm in central New South Wales? What could I achieve?
My secrets for a meaningful summer that year were connecting with God, living for others, and discovering fresh purpose for myself. Purpose that involved serving others.
That summer I realized when I’m with God, I’m home. When I am where He wants me to be, both spiritually and physically, I’m home. Jesus is my constant companion and best friend.
My youngest sister, Lucinda, and I did sheep work for Dad. We sorted through belongings and helped prepare for their sale. We painted a room of the homestead. And we enjoyed quality time together.
On my own I took farm prayer walks and searched the Internet. I wasn’t bored and God gave me a new vision and direction for my life. I applied to be a summer camp counsellor in the United States. Even though this job was six months away, I could begin physical, spiritual and emotional preparation. My present life was no longer a flop, but one of joyful purpose as God filled my heart with new dreams.
I am a great believer in purpose. We not only need to have purpose; we need to feel as though we do. If you are facing summer as a single woman, take a few moments to consider God’s plan.
* Perhaps you are working. “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might.” Ecclesiastes 9:10a. Praise God for your employment. Work for Him. Find purpose in your every day tasks, for each new day presents an opportunity to testify of His goodness.
* Maybe you can go away? Take a short holiday. Visit friends or family, or have one-on-one time with God, without the distractions of home. Enjoy the chance to relax and recharge your batteries. A new year is ahead. Lie back in the arms of God and breathe. Allow Him to restore your strength.
* Make New Years Resolutions. Mine have a spiritual focus. I write them as goals to direct my actions in a way that is pleasing to my Father.
* Seek God for His plan and purpose for the summer and the year ahead. During my holidays, when I had time to rest and reflect, God birthed in me His dreams for my overseas travel. Would you like to take a mission trip or a holiday to another country? Study a Bible college subject or enrol in TAFE? Plan for university? Change jobs? Volunteer in your community? Move to a new town? Now is the time to place your life in God’s hands – every facet of it – and trust Him to light the next step of your journey.
Psalm 16:3 says; “Commit your works to the Lord, and your thoughts will be established.”
Do you want clear thoughts for the present and ideas for the future? Do as His Word says and commit your works to Him.
Let God speak to your heart this summer. He wants to. If you find yourself feeling lonely, spend time in His presence. He is your father, husband, brother, saviour and friend. Contact friends and family. Play sport. Attend church. Make each day count for the Kingdom.
God is good. He took me on a great journey and filled my heart with hope. He said, “Nicki, I am everything you need.” He was and He is. May He bless you this summer as you trust in Him.